When I came upon the opportunity to live in Ibiza, Spain, with the only obligation being to work 12 hours a week, it didn’t take me long to make up my mind…
One of Spain’s Balearic Islands, Ibiza is 569 square kilometres of end-of-the-world cliffs, remote valleys and crescent-shaped coves tucked below rows of pines and junipers. Around 160 kilometres east of mainland Spain, Ibiza displays the architectural splendour of some of the world’s greatest civilizations—the Phoenicians, the Romans and the Moors—while, today, as a popular tourist destination, contemporary culture flourishes.
The island is well known as a party hotspot but that’s just one side to it—and you certainly won’t be short on things to do here if you prefer a quieter pace of life. Ibiza is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, foodies, history buffs and those living on a budget, too.
Working 12 hours a week as a language assistant, I take home a monthly salary of €700 ($1,103), tax free and have top-quality health and dental insurance. While this alone is enough to pay rent if, like me, you decide to house share—a typical room in the capital, Ibiza Town, averages €200 to €300 ($315 to $470) per month in winter and groceries are around €50 ($78) per week)—most language assistants also teach private English classes, charging between $16 to $32 per hour.
While many of the clubs, restaurants and hotels remain dormant during the off-season, the island revives its sense of community through weekly festivals and cultural initiatives, such as the annual spring tapas festival, La Pinxta Sant Antoni and the two-month autumn gastronomy festival, Ibiza Sabor. These, along with other classic winter activities, like hiking through almond blossoms in Santa Agnes and local government-organised street parties, are either free or come at a low cost.
For the frequent travellers, more airlines than ever offer regular flights to cities across Europe in the off-season, facilitating travel and eliminating the typical stopover in Barcelona or Madrid. I have travelled to the mainland several times on budget flights, paying as little as $80 for a roundtrip.
Either during the high season or in the off-season, smaller towns such as Santa Agnes, Sant Mateu or San Joan are great places to find local produce and sometimes, prices that are a bit more forgiving than higher volume areas such as Ibiza Town or San Antonio. They all have starting points for day-long hikes, but if that’s not your thing, you’ll find joy simply admiring the whitewashed buildings and sipping coffee in the shade.
In my spare time I run along the beaches and browse my favourite bookstore in Ibiza Town, Libreria Hiperbole. My weekends consist of treading through the island’s fragrant pine forests and across bucolic pastures filled with goats and fig trees. My friends and I bring picnics to beaches like Cala Salada and Ses Salines and savour the good life we’ve found on this island paradise…